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Frankenstein (1910)

Unrated | | Short, Fantasy, Horror | 18 March 1910 (USA)
Frankenstein, a young medical student, trying to create the perfect human being, instead creates a misshapen monster. Made ill by what he has done, Frankenstein is comforted by his fiancée ... See full summary »

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Cast

Uncredited cast:
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Elizabeth (uncredited)
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The Monster (uncredited)
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Frankenstein (uncredited)
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Storyline

Frankenstein, a young medical student, trying to create the perfect human being, instead creates a misshapen monster. Made ill by what he has done, Frankenstein is comforted by his fiancée but on his wedding night he is visited by the monster. A fight ensues but the monster, seeing himself in a mirror, is horrified and runs away. He later returns, entering the new bride's room, and finds her alone. Written by Doug Sederberg <vornoff@sonic.net>

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Unrated

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18 March 1910 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Frankenštajn  »

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1.33 : 1
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Trivia

Since its original release, the film had been listed as missing; no copies of the film were known to exist. An original nitrate print finally turned up in Wisconsin in the mid-1970s. See more »

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Featured in Top 10 Lost Horror Films (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Before Karloff, yet largely forgotten
14 March 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Although the 1931 Boris Karloff film is generally remembered as the original "Frankenstein," many people don't know that this film, made by Thomas Edison's production company in 1910, is really the first adaptation of Mary Shelley's novel. This is an interesting film to watch for historical reasons alone, but there are some other elements that caught my attention. First of all, the creation of the monster is handled differently from other versions; in this film the monster is created not through science (or rather science fiction) but through a technique that one could read as almost mystical. Frankenstein mixes a number of ingredients together in a large metal cauldron. The monster grows out of the cauldron in an interesting scene that was achieved by taking footage of a dummy being burned and playing it backwards. As many people know, Mary Shelley never states how the monster is created in her novel, but I'm sure she didn't intend on it being created through magic or alchemy.

The second thing that I thought was interesting was a pretty big departure from the themes of the original story. In the book, the monster starts off as a benevolent and gentle being who is driven to commit murder by the ill treatment that he receives from his creator (and everyone else, for that matter). The implication is that evil isn't innate but something that is learned from the cruelties that one experiences throughout his or her life. In this film however, it is explicitly stated that the monster is evil. The only time he feels anything other than hatred for his creator is at the end, when he vanishes after apparently being moved by how much Frankenstein loves his wife. We therefore have a transformation of a sad story about an unloved monster who becomes bitter and hateful after being rejected by the world around him into a much more simple story about the dangers of man playing God. Without the complex themes of the novel, the story is far less interesting (then again, one cannot expect any real depth in a twelve-minute film version of this story).

I guess my one real complaint about this film is that it is visually uninteresting aside from the cool monster creation scene. Most of the scenes consist of one shot from a stationary camera of the actors acting their scenes out as if they were on a stage. The monster really looks quite menacing in this film, but it comes off as far less menacing when he is shown simply walking into the same shot as Frankenstein and Elizabeth before attacking them. The only thing that keeps this film from becoming really boring in that respect is its brief length. Then again, it was made in 1910, and in the end it really is quite impressive for its time. In the end, it's still worth a look for anyone who wants to see the first true "Frankenstein" film.


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